There ARE drawbacks to having a warm spell this late in the year. Yes, indeed.
So…I’m sitting in the living room reading the paper; it’s a breezy, balmy (for November, anyway)fifty-something, sixty-something outside. The room is pleasantly warm enough. It’s evening, getting dark, I’m thinking about getting to bed early after a day that started fairly early for a weekend.
Then I looked at the cat. The cat was staring at something in back of me. They do that. No wonder some people frequently connect felines with messages from the Great Beyond. The only thing in back of me was the bookcase adorned with family pictures, some of my wooden boxes–the better-looking ones–and a few pieces of favorite memorabilia. None of these things were moving. What was the cat looking at? Well, I’m sure I don’t know but that’s when I heard the noise.
It was a sort of scratchy-squeaky-scrabbly kind of noise. It was the kind of noise that might be made by something caught behind or under a box. It was the kind of noise that might be made by something just-wakened from what was intended to be a fairly lengthy winter nap. It was the kind of noise possibly made by something irritated by being hungry and wanting to get out and look for food. It was exactly the kind of noise that might be made by a BAT!
The cat kept staring . He moved around a little to get a better look. The noise stopped then started again. The cat took a new position, closer. He cocked his head to get a better fix on where the sound was coming from.
I got up too. To my credit, I did not run screaming from the room, but got up to take a look at the bookcase—from a distance, of course. More noises. Cat moves around to get a better bead on whatever was making the sound…just in case he might get a chance to pounce on it.
I kind of gingerly touched a few things; not actually pulling anything completely up and out, you understand, just sort of a tentative exploration, while listening carefully for the sound of something getting ready for a take-off. That’s all I needed , a bat flapping around in the middle of the night, with the temperature preparing to take a dive, so that opening all of the doors was not really an option. Jeez!
In the end, it was a stand-off of sorts. I figured that if the temperature fell, the creature, whatever it was, would likely head back to hibernation, at least until the next warm spell. I also decided that I would not touch any more of the boxes and what-not without a pair of leather-fingered gloves. I’ve already had one set of rabies shots; two would be a bit much. Anyway, I still, as of this writing, have not put on my gloves to investigate. Maybe I won’t. We could just wait until spring and hope it goes out the same way it came in, whatever that was. I recall that several years ago I was lying in bed and hearing the cat (different cat, first cat, as a matter of fact) or cats(also a different cat and quite koo-koo)leaping around in the dining room in the dark. It wasn’t anything that I wanted to investigate at that time of night, so I just rolled over and thought that I’d straighten up in the morning. Well, I did that but there didn’t seem to be any clue as to why they had been performing all of these acrobatics. Somewhat later, when I went to vacuum the place (It was a special occasion), I discovered a bat body—quite defunct and petrified—under the rug beneath the dining room table. Did the cats get it and stuff it under there to come back to for a bit of entertainment later or did the beleaguered bat crawl under there hoping to make an escape later? Could be a surprise somewhere on the bookcase…when I get around to looking a little more closely. Don’t hold your breath.
At least there’s no financial loss here caused by the drop in temperature. Yet.
The bad news in that line came from Berlin, Germany, where an entire flea circus (Who knew that they were still around?) fell victim to freezing temperatures back in the spring. The director (Ring master? Scratcher-in-chief?) was shocked to find that all 300 of his tiny performers(order : Siphonaptera) had perished inside their transport box. This was the first time that this had ever happened to the whole troupe. Apparently, the old show biz saying, “The show must go on!” applies to insect actors as well, because the circus scrambled around to find and train replacements in time for upcoming engagements at a nearby fair. You can train a flea that fast? Can we get the techniques in schools? An insect expert at a local university was able to provide a skeleton crew, so to speak, of fifty fleas by the weekend. Nobody specified what kind( They come in dog fleas, cat fleas, human fleas, moorhen fleas, northern rat fleas and oriental rat fleas) of beasties they were but maybe , at that size, it doesn’t matter.
Who goes to these things anyway? One certainly would not be allowed to bring a pet to the performance. Instead of someone running off to join the circus, there could be a case of the circus taking off to walk the dog, as it were.
Gotta go find my gloves. News at eleven.